- Aging & Longevity
Peter Kelder 5 Rites Fountain of Youth Exercises
The Fountain of Youth
The fountain of youth still attracts seekers. Rumors, adventure tales, James Hilton's 1933 novel "Lost Horizon" that depicted Shangri-la a mythical Tibet, the film based on the book with the horrific image of the beautiful young woman turning into a withered old woman when she leaves the utopia -- and also dating from the 30s, a mysterious book by Peter Kelder, "The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth."
Kelder's book presented a series of five exercises for promoting youth and longevity. A more recent version of Peter Kelder's book and the "Five Tibetans" by a different author fueled interest in these exercises.
The simple practice has a reputation for stopping aging, contributing to long life and increasing vigor. Some colleges and universities offer classes in this Tibetan yoga practice. Today, proponents of these exercises, known as the Five Rites, continue to provide testimonies of improved health, vigor and younger looks -- some of them at advanced ages.
With the growing interesting in antiaging for baby boomers and others who want to stay young-looking and use natural, healthy antiaging exercises, the 5 Rites offer a simple means to remain flexible and feel your best. A few minutes a day can make a difference in how you feel for the rest of your life. The best way to test the reputation for Tibetan yoga to reverse aging, make you look younger and give you longevity is to try the exercises for yourself.
A sense of wonder -- and flexibility -- help to preserve youth
5 Rites for Antiaging and Longevity
Claims for the five rites range from the basic improvements that most forms of yoga can provide -- improved strength, agility and flexibility -- to the phenomenal. People who wrote about their results reported significant weight loss, regaining more youthful figures, improved eyesight, loss of wrinkles -- and even their hair becoming darker, after having gone gray. Peter Kelder's "The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth" presents many excerpts from letters, all signed by the writers, including doctors. These personal testimonials to the benefits of the 5 rites shine with enthusiasm of gratitude for regained flexibility, youthfulness, mobility -- and a pain-free life in the case of arthritis sufferers and those recovering from debility or injury.
Some of the testimonials include amazing stories of hair returning to its original color, wrinkles disappearing, posture and energy returning to a youthful state, weight loss, toning and firming -- they're inspiring to read.
5 Rites Exercises
The exercises in "The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth" include five basic moves. They differ from some forms of yoga in that they involve motion, instead of static poses. It's best to learn them by reading full descriptions and referring to the photos. It's a vigorous practice, and tends to feel energizing.
I began performing the Five Rites many years ago, and the benefits in maintaining energy, flexibility and -- I believe -- overall health, are well worth the few minutes a day I invest in the practice. I've explored yoga and many forms of exercise, and nothing gives me the sense of strength I get from performing the 5 rites regularly. Any time I miss doing them of a few days, I notice a major difference -- becoming sluggish and experiencing stiffness and body aches. When I do the rites daily, I feel better. That's what's kept me doing them for so many years.
The Five Rites take only a few minutes to perform. I've timed it -- I spend seven minutes doing the 5 rites. I these Tibetan yoga exercises right after my shower, so that my muscles are warm for the stretches.
Mystery of Peter Kelder's Exercises
The framework of Kelder's little book describes meetings with a mysterious Colonel who brings these rites and other health suggestions, such as eating principles, to Kelder. The story is fascinating, referring to a sojourn with long-lived vigorous monks in an isolated Tibetan monastery in the Himalayas. There are some details that don't add up, as detractors have pointed out over the years, and Kelder himself maintained silence about the Colonel's identity. Whether Kelder fabricated the Colonel, creating a framework for his amazing book, or whether he had an actual meeting with a remarkable character -- the value of the exercises speak for themselves.
Yoga teachers continue to teach and write about the five rites from "The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth." They've also been presented as the "Five Tibetans," and despite continuing controversy, some proponents of the practice believe they may have come from Tibet and have a relationship to Yantra yoga.
Peter Kelder published a new edition of the book in 1989, complete with photographs of each of the rites and new supplemental material. A second volume contained essays about the practice.
For decades, this simple practice has maintained a reputation for providing rejuvenation, vigorous health, the pleasure of looking younger and the possibility of long life -- with the vitality, self-esteem and inner peace with which to enjoy it.
- Yoga Journal - Yoga Basics Column - Not All Yoga Is Created Equal: Tibetan
Yoga article: "You say Ashtanga, I say Kundalini. What's the difference? Use this guide to find the right yoga for you."
- Yoga Journal - Yoga Tradition & History - Into the Mystic
"Still largely cloaked in mystery, ancient Tibetan yoga practices are slowly being introduced in the West, but teachers remain cautious about revealing their secrets."
- LOST HORIZON
Project Gutenberg: "Lost Horizon"
Author's Note: Fountain of Youth -- Peter Kelder 5 Rites Exercises for Antiaging and Longevity
The five rites helps to keep me limber -- it's a great way to counteract the effects of sitting at a computer. The dynamic quality of moving through the exercises has a more energizing effect than other yoga practices I've tried.
Check with your doctor about any medical concerns. The author does not give any medical advise or make any claims about treating any conditions. Delaying treatment for medical conditions can have serious consequences.
In only a few minutes, the five rites helps to reduce stress, increase flexibility, keep your bones strong, promote healthy circulation, tone your muscles, promote deeper breathing and body awareness and a calmer, happier state of mind. This practice has the potential to improve your balance and help you continue looking young and feeling rejuvenated for a happy, active life at any age. I hope this simple practice benefits you as much as it has me, and accompanies you on your path for a long, healthy life.
April 2012 Update: I'm 51, still performing the 5 Rites regularly -- and continuing to be limber, pain-free, and calmer for it. It makes a great antidote to computer-bod -- the stiffness that can set in from spending a lot of hours writing. I also notice I breath more deeply after doing the Tibetan exercises.
The movements open up my chest, keep my shoulders and legs strong even when I get too busy to lift weights, and enhance my overall sense of peace and well being. Although it usually takes me about seven minutes to do them, a beginner can take longer, slowing down to perfect each move, and you can do a faster-paced 5 minute fountain of youth exercise session. Just remember that slowing down helps you concentrate on your breath, alignment and the movements to gain more benefit.
I'm more physically active, fit, energized and happy in my body than I think I'd be without the 5 Rites. I notice friends spending more and more time talking about physical complaints. I don't believe that aging has to be that way. For me, the few minutes it takes to practice the 5 Rites is my antiaging and longevity investment. I'm generally pain-free and ready to go after what each new day has to bring. I wish that freedom and good feeling for everyone.
-- Trent Adams, California, April 18, 2012
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